Square One or A Knock At The Door?

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Sometimes, it is really hard to tell.

Today is one of those days…my beloved gym of 16 months, the gym that helped me discover my inner ninja and develop muscles for the first time in my 46.92 years, closed today.

I’m really sad. I’m bummed for the hard-working guy/awesome trainer who busted his balls trying to build a good business. I’m bummed for myself, because I am completely flummoxed about what I will do to keep progressing with my strength training. It’s helped me physically and mentally. Has helped my confidence and made me a stronger runner. It gave me a place to be strong and mentally tough and occasionally have a laugh.

So what does thus mean? Am I back to Square One or am I presented with an opportunity? A little of both, I suppose, but in this case my attitude isn’t the only determining factor.

But it serves to remind me that I have a choice about how I look at it, how I respond, and what I do next. Do I like that my gym is closed? No. But what comes next is up to me. I need to do something and I need to start. Now.

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A Fine Line Indeed

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There’s a thin line between love and hate. There are many situations when we hear two sides of something described as being separated by a fine line…the fine line is really a tipping point of sorts…in some cases something tips and is permanently upended and in other cases it can be reset or leveled. But the bottom line is that which separates two dramatically different things is, many times, barely discernible.

I always consider the following two sayings:

Many hands make light work.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.

There’s a razor-thin line between those two things, right? One more body, or one more personality, and a completely cooperative community becomes chaos.

It got me thinking about my own situation…and as I reflected on a few things going on in my own life, it hit me that there’s a line between being back to Square One and hearing the knock of Opportunity. I continued contemplating how close such two radically different positions can be, and I had my “Aha!” moment…the line can be superfine or superthick, and in many cases the line is comprised of one thing: ATTITUDE.

So when you find yourself lamenting whatever unfortunate change has you thinking that you’ve been sent back to Square One, do whatever it takes to reframe your thinking to get yourself over the line and into the land of Opportunity! Search for relevant inspirational quotes. Read a self-help book or article. See what others are saying in Social Media. Remember, you need to find what resonates with and works for you, and that is something unique to you…your experiences, circumstances, expectations skills…your YOUnique makeup.

In other news, it’s not breaking news that I love oatmeal. Almost every winter night finds me preparing my steel cut oats so I can reheat and eat them in the morning. I’ve heard and read a lot about “Overnight Oats,” but have actively ignored all of it, because in my mind, oatmeal is a hot breakfast.

However, while I was actively ignoring Overnight Oats, I was subconsciously obsessing about them. I had a 5K early Saturday and suspected that I would a) not want to spend the 5 minutes making the oats on Friday night, b) not want to spend the 5 minutes prepping them in the morning, and c) I had this nagging obsession with the Overnight Oats that so many people are raving about.

So I looked at a bunch of recipes, looked at what I had in my kitchen and went for it, settling on:

A banana, which I mashed.
1/2C of Trader Joe’s rolled oats
1T of Skippy Natural peanut butter
A small splash of vanilla
1/2T of agave (but would use maple syrup or honey too, and more or less depending on what else was going in it/whether I wanted it more or less sweet)
1/2C of vanilla unsweetened almond milk
1/2T of Chia seeds (totally up to you)

I mixed it all up, covered the bowl, and stuck it in the fridge.

In the morning, I was excited for the race and excited to give my new breakfast a go. (They say not to change your breakfast on a race day, but it was a short race, was pretty much a cold version of what I normally eat, and in hindsight I had no ill effects.)

It did look a little like sludge but it smelled great and after a stir and an initial taste, I pretty much shoveled it it. I loved it! And, per MyFitnessPal, just under 450 calories.

The other thing I mixed up based on what I had a hankering for and what was lingering in my kitchen, I blended 4 ounces of cold coffee, 4 ounces of chocolate milk, and a little frozen banana. Delicious and just over 100 calories, more or less depending on how much frozen banana you use. Oh, and if you want to add yogurt and/or liquid egg whites, feel free…when I did that got my calorie count up by 140…4oz of vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt and 6T liquid egg whites.

I’m pretty excited to have two new go-tos for summer eats. If it ever warms up around here!

Easter Blessings, I Suppose

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This morning I had the good fortune to be running the BAA 5K, the first of a three-race series (the Distance Relay). As I was heading toward the finish line, I heard them announcing the names of finishers as they crossed. I heard them announce “Henry Richard” and thought, sadly, “Good for him!” But when I crossed the finish line and was weaving through the exit corral, I saw him walking right next to me, in a group, all wearing Team MR8 shirts. My heart got so heavy…yet with gratitude…so it was a very foreign yet very distinct feeling, a mixture of many feelings really. I could hop on a soapbox and talk about peace and tolerance and blessings, but I won’t. That’s not why I am here. But I will encourage you all to take a moment, to step away from the congestion of life, and to count some of the blessings in your own lives. No matter where I am or what I am feeling, I can always find something good…inevitably when I do, it triggers other positive memories and thoughts, and keeps my ship righted.

Anyhow…after the race I tried one of these beauties, and boy was it good. Not low calorie by any stretch (just over 200 in a serving and the recipe is from Cooking Light but I’m not sure what it is light compared with…a cup of Crisco?) but tasted great. And it has me slightly obsessed with making my own energy bars, but ideally in the low- to mid-hundred calorie/serving range…I see puréed beans in my future.

My Saturday awaits, even though the only thing I know for sure that it consists of is a post-race shower. No matter what you are thinking right now, enjoy the day. If you need to straighten things out in your head, do. Find the good. And if you really can’t find any good, then make the good…be the good. Just start. Go.

Recipe Alert: Make These. Now.

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I love these. No more for me to say here.

But I will, albeit quickly since I must go to the gym. I just finished a partial batch of these, which I skimmed from a supply that I made my nephew to take to his track meet. They’re too good not to share!

They are easy to make but take a little while, keep great in the fridge, are good at any time of day for any reason, and are a pretty good approximation of cookie dough.

As a kid I would wait for my mom to go hang out or take in the laundry to sneak into her cowboy cookie dough. These are every bit as good, but I can have them whenever I want.

Depending on how many you get out of a batch, MyFitnessPal puts these right around 100 calories per. I don’t think I have ever eaten just one!

On Running The Mile You’re In

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I saw this in my Facebook feed recently and, like so many things, filed it away, not knowing when I’d think about it or come back to it again, if ever.

Today when I was running, as has been the case with me since I came back from my trip, I found myself become acutely aware of the traffic jam in my head, and realized that it was distracting me and taking away from the enjoyment of what I was doing.

And then I started thinking about that Facebook post and the advice to “Run the mile you’re in.” So I did that. I ran the mile I was in. Which meant thinking about the fact that it was cold, too cold for April. About how good it felt to run, knowing that I had already strength trained earlier in the morning. I thought about the mile I was in, and how many bites of cheesecake it would allow me to eat later. I thought about the mile I was in, that it was another miles added to my base, another mile of my training. And I thought about the mile I was in, for a total of four miles, and felt good for doing it.

Presto…traffic jam alleviated. And did you ever notice, when you’re driving and stuck in traffic, many times the traffic just dissipates without you ever knowing why it was there in the first place? My head is like that. Sometimes it just gets jammed up and loud and cacophonous. In a real traffic jam, you can choose to get keyed up and pissed off about sitting there or whether to enjoy the solitude and space with music or whatever. How I deal with the traffic jams in my head is the same. Today it was about running the mile I was in…I was present in the moment, and I came out ahead on the other side.

Not Much Worth Crying About

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Things not worth crying about today:

1) Snow in mid-April.
2) Eating healthy.
3) Spilled milk.

So yeah it snowed this morning and it sucked but even so I hauled ass out of bed at 4:40 to get to my BOMF run (I am part of Team Quincy in the Boston “chapter”). Four volunteers and five hearty runners in the unexpected cold and slush…had a getting to know you/catch up breakfast at McDonald’s. I love when we run but I also love when we talk. That group kills it!

I had an awesome smoothie for a snack. It was like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Only it wasn’t. But it was as good and—per MyFitnessPal—264 calories. A lot for a snack? Perhaps. But not when you’ve eaten a light breakfast and a light lunch and worked out. Right?

And then no crying over the spilled milk either. I couldn’t figure out why my scale was going up and down while I was adding almond milk to my blender. Seems I forgot the rubber gasket when reattaching the blade mechanism. Oopsie. That’s where the milk was going. All over the counter. Right. O rings matter. But we already knew that.

PB&J Smoothie

1 cup of vanilla unsweetened almond milk
1/2 frozen banana (mine was about 80g)
3/4 cup (140g/one serving) frozen mixed berries (these were organic, Townsend Farms, from Costco)
1T Skippy all-natural peanut butter
3T liquid egg whites

Blended the hell out of it and mmmmm….frozen PBJ&Deliciousness.

And to quote from one of the best movies ever, “There’s no crying in baseball.”

Go Red Sox. And remember, not much is worth crying over. Channel your energy and emotion toward your goal and not away from it—if your crying is moving you in the wrong direction, stop it already.